By Jonathan Davies
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for an independent inquiry into the UK’s poor payment culture in a meeting held at Downing Street today (Tuesday).
The FSB and some of its members directly affected by late payment met with Government, the Confederation of British Industry and leading FTSE 350 members. The FSB acknowledged efforts from Government to improve payment culture, but has called for an independent inquiry to get clear actions and the progress needed to tackle late payment and supply chain bullying.
John Allan, FSB National Chairman, said:
“Late payment and the UK’s poor payment culture are difficult issues to address. We acknowledge Government’s attempts to find a solution, including in the Small Business Bill, but the situation is continuing to deteriorate. To get real change in how firms do business, more decisive action must be taken.
“Following today's encouraging meeting which brought together a wide range of views and stakeholders, the FSB is calling for a wide ranging inquiry to address late payment and supply chain bullying in one place. It must be independently led and produce clear recommendations in time for the next Government to act on early in the next Parliament. We have already fed back to Government on this issue in numerous consultations but without any significant progress yet in tackling the underlying causes of our poor payment culture.
“The time has come to address this issue once and for all. The abuse of small firms in their dealings with bigger businesses can’t continue. We have seen the UK’s payment culture significantly deteriorate in the past five years. The gradual creep of payment terms from 30 days to well over 100 days in some cases, coupled with debilitating contract terms, can have a disastrous effect on a small firm’s ability to operate. For payment culture to improve, we need fresh thinking and bold steps to be taken.”
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